systemic madness

Editor’s note: This article was written by Julia X and was first published on our affiliate site Mad in Scotland.

wattWhat is a human being? To understand mental illness, we first need to understand who a person really is. But you might be thinking by now, we do. Science has a pretty good understanding of how the body and brain work, right? Psychologists help people who don’t feel well, and doctors prescribe medication for damaged brains lacking one neurotransmitter or another. We have treatment programs for addicts and psychiatric clinics for people with depression. That’s good, right?

Of course, all of this is good for those being helped. However, this is far from the case for everyone.

Besides, wouldn’t it be better if people didn’t have to feel bad in the first place?

Mental illness is often caused by something that happened to you. We don’t suddenly get imbalanced neurotransmitters for no reason. We don’t start feeling bad for no reason. The body is a system and something disrupts our systems so they no longer function the way they used to. What the question is, the answer varies from person to person.

There are as many causes of mental illness as there are people because each person has their own unique biology, unique destiny, and way of dealing with life.

Some experienced traumatic childhoods. Some people get too little love, others too much anger. Some grow up under the stress of poverty, some are bullied in school, and some experience trauma as adults. There are so many different ways a person can break down, and we live in a society that is destructive and downright anti-human in so many ways, creating barriers to the path to true healing.

Prescribing antidepressants to people who feel bad is standard treatment today, and maybe a little therapy so that we learn better ways to cope with life. But the question is, is the answer for us to numb ourselves and learn to live with a life in which we feel uncomfortable? Shouldn’t the solution be to cure disease and live a life that doesn’t make us stressed, unhappy, and sick?

In today’s individualistic capitalist society, collectives no longer provide support and community. Capitalism, meanwhile, treats people as impersonal cogs in a soulless machine, often with no purpose other than financial gain. People are living increasingly lonely and isolated lives, feeling stressed out about jobs they consider pointless but necessary to survive, and using the money they earn to buy things they don’t really need. Consumption is about feeling some excitement, some spark, something that lights up life.

With more and more of us finding ourselves in this stressful, isolating and meaningless state, is it any wonder that people don’t feel good?

The brain may be controlled by neurotransmitters, but neurotransmitters can be affected by your life. Chronic stress increases the amount of certain neurotransmitters and decreases the amount of others. When too many resources are devoted to coping with life’s stressors, the brain and other parts of the body eventually become thrown out of balance. We are born with a certain amount of DNA, but epigenetics shows that genes turn on and off depending on the environment in which we live. The body is adaptable and will do whatever it takes to survive, and if it thinks a change would be more beneficial, it will change your DNA to better ensure your survival than your original state.

The body doesn’t care if you are happy or not. It is concerned with pure survival. If you live in a stressful environment, your body will perceive it as a danger and will do whatever it can to help you get through the circumstances, no matter how detrimental it is to your actual quality of life. Stress doesn’t even have to come from the environment itself, but can just as easily come at least in part from a poor diet, too little exercise, and a lack of social contact. Getting too much of everything bad and too little of everything good creates an imbalance that leads to mental or physical ill health. So no, it’s not something wrong with our neurotransmitters. We are part of a larger system that is detrimental to people’s lives in many ways, so the focus should not be on how to heal individuals, but how to change the system.

Oddly, psychiatry today seems to lack systemic thinking about how each person is part of a larger system.

Psychologists may use this approach to research, but psychiatrists generally do not. The focus there is not on curing the underlying cause, but on alleviating symptoms and enabling people to become productive citizens of society. Capitalist society is not based on happiness but on productivity, and psychiatry is part of this system, especially because of the huge influence pharmaceutical companies have on research.

If you are a zealous person, you can call it corruption.

Unfortunately, today’s society is so twisted that powerful interest groups control what research shows they make money from, which doesn’t even seem to be the most effective remedy for the suffering caused by the system they are a part of. is strange.

So where do we start when the problem is so complex, when society as a whole is dysfunctional?

First and foremost the message. Understand how people and society work by reading as much as you can and educating yourself. You can’t change what you don’t understand, so first we have to understand. We must understand ourselves, other people and the world in as many ways as possible, and through this understanding we can change our lives in different ways and show that there are other options. Other ways of being, other ways of living, other ways of seeing the world.

We can be role models.

We can learn to deal with difficulties in a way that works for us, and we can live as an empath, taking care of ourselves and others from a holistic perspective. Rather than following templates and rules in a dysfunctional system, this leads to more illness and disease. unhappy.

How do we change society? How do we make the world a better place? How do we help people realize their true potential and make them happy, not just productive?

In fact, when we are far enough along in our journey, we do our best to share our experiences with anyone who will listen. We can tell you what made us sick, we can tell you how we got well again, and no amount of research can beat a lifetime of living examples.

All new ideas are considered crazy from the start, and perhaps it is those of us who have been labeled “crazy” who have to come up with new ideas about psychiatry. Who else?

We have been part of the psychiatric system and experienced its dysfunction up close, so who better to talk about this topic than us?

There is a famous saying: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” We need to achieve this change by actively sharing all our collective knowledge and collective life experiences, and we need to reach as many people as possible.

Change is possible and it starts with you, with us, right here and now.


Mad in America has blogs written by a diverse group of writers. These posts are intended to serve as a public forum for broad discussion of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the author’s own.


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